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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Salem finances solid, police department gets new vehicle

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

In a few weeks, this new Ford Police Cruiser will join the fleet of Salem Police vehicles. The $27,000 car was paid for through a grant. Photo by Niki de Soto [Order this photo]
The Salem City Council met in regular session on Thursday, May 17, and council members were able to check out the police department's new cruiser, parked outside City Hall.

The $27,000 Ford police cruiser was paid for through a 100 percent grant, obtained by the city. Police Chief Albert Roork said the vehicle will be put into operation soon.

"Hopefully we'll have the new vehicle accessorized and road ready in a couple of weeks or so," said Roork. "Through the grant, we also received three sets of stop spikes and, thanks to our being involved in an investigation with the DEA that was a little bit in Arkansas and a whole lot in Texas, we will be getting four percent of the forfeiture from that case, which will be a little over $2,000, and the Sheriff's Department will get that same amount as well for their participation."

Roork mentioned that Officer Terry Walker will be headed to Hot Springs this week to attend a Federal DEA Summit. "It's a great opportunity to make good contacts and to learn about a lot of different things, not just drug enforcement, but about gangs and other important legal issues," said Roork.

Roork then gave his monthly report, noting three automobile accidents and one commercial burglary, last weekend, at Shelter Insurance. "It's been pretty light," said Roork.

Fire Chief Nick Blanton agreed with Roork on the easy month so far.

"This month we haven't had any call outs," said Blanton. "It's been pretty quiet, but hay season has started, so we're prepared. I received a packet from ISO, in the hopes of changing our ISO rating outside the city limits. They will send out a survey team and survey all of Highway 62/412 and Highway 9 north and south, and once that's approved, it should lower it down one point, from a nine to an eight, to help lower everyone's insurance down."

Blanton mentioned that five members of the fire department would be participating in a First Responder class in Camp later this month, which means the majority of the department will be qualified.

Bill Worsham was up next, reporting on the Water, Waste Water, Park and Street departments.

"We fixed five water leaks, cleaned 6,500 feet of line in waste water, we installed two four-way stop signs at Oak and North, at the park we repaired a water leak at the city pool and it's looking good," said Worsham. "We have also gotten ready for the fishing derby and mowed and cleaned up the downtown area in preparation for Homecoming."

As for the city's sewer project, Mayor Gary Clayton says everything is on track.

"I had Bill call the engineers to see where we were at on the project," said Clayton. "They have completed the environmental impact statement and are working on some final plans. We are where we're supposed to be at this point, so we're on schedule."

Looking to the city's financial report, things are still solidly in the black across the board.

"We had a pretty good month overall. We made pretty decent gains in every department. January through March of 2012, compared to 2011, we were up substantially," said Clayton. "This month is the first month we have fallen behind versus the previous year. We were down on sales tax collection, around $1,000, for the month of April. But, for the year to date, Jan through April, comparing 2011 to 2012, we're up a little over 7 percent, about $5,400 over the same period last year, so we're doing good, and I suspect May will be an excellent month."

With the new businesses on the square and Homecoming Weekend right around the corner, council is hoping May is just the start of a strong summer season for the city.

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